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The Gold Coast craft beer revolution
Craig Tansley | April 1, 2022
Not so long ago, everyone drank XXXX on the Gold Coast… now it’s one of Australia’s hottest craft brewing destinations, home to some of the highest awarded breweries and beers. Here’s your guide to the Gold Coast’s burgeoning craft breweries – the best places to sample the good life of the region….
Burleigh Brewing Company started the whole craft brewing phenomenon on the Gold Coast. In 2006, Hawaiian Brennan Fielding and Gold Coaster Peta Fielding used their knowledge from brewing beer in Hawaii to introduce the Coast to proper craft beer. The rest is history. They’ve since won 28 world gold medals for their brews, but the best was winning gold in the South German-Style Hefeweizen category at the 2012 World Beer Cup – the Olympics of beer. There’s live music and great pub food like fish tacos and burgers served at their Burleigh Heads brewery. The selection of beers on tap is always changing and for true beer lovers, you can take a Backstage With The Brew Master tour.
2 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads.
Madocke Beer Brewery Company started its life as south-east Queensland’s smallest commercial brewery, operating out of a two-car garage in Pacific Pines. Then in November 2021, Belgian-born couple Jimmy and Annelies Nijskens opened up their brand new brewery in Ashmore. Now it’s the coolest place to drink beer west of Surfers Paradise – there’s 10 taps on site, live music and a roster of food trucks over the weekend. You can sit outside on an astro-turf deck lined with picnic tables and at high tables beside a funky looking bar. All beer brewed is Belgian because Jimmy and Annelies are proud of their heritage (Belgian beer brewing is nearly a thousand years old and is listed in the UNESCO list of cultural heritage items).
286 Southport-Nerang Road, Ashmore.
A brewery designed in shocking pink? With tones of pastel green between: Lost Palms like to mix up the traditional idea of what a brewery should look like. Even their beer bottles are pink. You’ll find it in the industrial area of hip neighbourhood, Miami – among smash repairers and mechanics – but also just across the street from the Coast’s trendiest hang-out, the Miami Marketta (where you’ll find pop-up bars, bo-ho designers and live music). The brewery was the dream of three engineering students who experimented with homebrew during their uni years. Bring your dog along and check out the bar snacks like burgers and mac’n’cheese as you sample their ever-changing brews.
11 Oak Avenue, Miami.
It all started with three Queensland mates – Dan, Eddie and Michael – who got together at a pub and discussed an idea to brew an Eggnog Stout. The beer tasted pretty darn good so the buddies thought they’d launch it commercially. When the US video game, Call Of Duty, came asking for a special beer for the launch of new product, Call Of Duty II, Black Ops III, the dye was cast. Now they run a Burleigh Heads brewery that’s rated amongst the top five in Australia (it’s one of three they run on the Coast). Located just two blocks from the waves at Burleigh Point, the brewery offers eight taps of beer flavours.
15 Gardenia Grove, Burleigh Heads.
There couldn’t be a more Gold Coast beer brand than Balter. Set up by the area’s best ever surfers (including three-time world champ, Mick Fanning, and world champ, Joel Parkinson) Balter Brewing took over the region – and the whole country – with its great tasting brews, which included the best tasting beer in Australia. Its easy-drinking XPA has won the prestigious GABS Best Beer In Australia many times over, and it’s also won international awards. Balter Brewing had eight beers in GABS’ Top 100 Beers In Australia, more than any other brewery. They sold the label to Carlton United Breweries, but it still remains a Gold Coast local’s favourite. Locals love its laid-back tasting room/ bar in Currumbin Waters’ industrial area, complete with DJs and a food truck.
14 Traders Way, Currumbin.
There’s no other brewery like this in Australia – BOBs Beer sits right on the beach at Surfers Paradise with stunning views and dining that’s every bit as good as the beer itself. You’ll find it in a three-story white-washed building that was once home to Louis Vuitton. There’s 16 different brews on top – eight made on site, plus eight of the best independent craft beers across Australia and New Zealand. The head chef came from a hatted restaurant and the owners hope to make BOBs Beer the first hatted brewery in the country! It’s the best hang-out spot in Surfers, with swanky booths and a bar where you can look right into the brewery.
10/2 Elkhorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise.
Miami’s industrial precinct is one of the Coast’s coolest hang-outs: Precinct Brewing Company is hidden behind a graffiti-covered façade in a transformed old workshop. Check out live acoustic music inside and soak up the communal vibe as locals all hang out in this swanky industrial fit-out (think: exposed rafters, polished concrete floors, festoon lighting). There’s 12 taps pouring out this local, independent brewery’s best concoctions, the output of local mates who came together to start the business after years of making home brew for themselves at home. Try their share plates and pizza, there’s comedy nights too and trivia competitions.
17 Christine Avenue, Miami.
The Black Hops Brewery boys were doing so well with their initial brewhouse they decided to build a new taproom – only this time in Biggera Waters. They turned what was a dusty old shed into a state-of-the-art tasting room and production brewery with vaulted ceilings, hand-blown glass lights, a polished concrete bar and quirky art installations. But integral to all of it – never mind the fancy furnishings – was the message that Black Hops is a brewery for mates. On the wall facing the bar are the letters: BEER MADE BY THREE MATES ON THE GOLD COAST. There’s 14 beers on tap to try, including their Super Goat, a hazy IPA that weighs in at 8.4 percent alcohol and made the top five of the GABS Hottest 100 Beers In Australia list. If you want to know how they make their award-winning beers, book a brewery tour.
671 Pine Ridge Road, Biggera Waters.
To think, this all started from a mistake. The Black Hops Brewery team had a keg mishap with a contaminated keg and it ended up producing a delicious sour beer. Which led to AWOL Taproom; the first dedicated barrel-aged beer taproom on the Gold Coast. They bought a former meat factory on the site adjoining their Burleigh headquarters to create a multi-sensory experience totally different to other breweries. Beer is left in old wine or spirits oak barrels to ferment for anywhere between three months and three years – so no two barrels taste the same. There’s over 100 wine, gin, bourbon and whiskey barrels on-site – but because it’s not mass produced, you can’t just pop in for tasting, you’ll have to take a group tour over the weekend.
4 Hibiscus Haven, Burleigh Heads.
This isn’t your typical brewery either. Located in Varsity Lakes, Aardvark & Arrow is the place for beer brewing aficionados to brew their very own blend using professional equipment and help. This is a real beer lovers’ paradise – you can sit in a man cave on leather lounges beside kegs and make your very own creations. Though you don’t have to be a beer brewer to love the place: on Fridays between 4pm and 7pm you can try the Six Tap Beer Buffet for you and your friends in the taproom, while every third Friday of the month between 4pm and 7pm is Tasting Night, with a sausage sizzle, raffles and a variety of beers and ciders on tap. Though if you are a budding beer brewer, this is THE place to come to meet your fellow amateur brewers.
4/13 John Duncan Court, Varsity Lakes.
Just a short walk from James Street, Burleigh Barrels Brewery is the new kid on the block. This brewery, distillery and smokehouse has a phenomenal food menu to accompany their range of six perfectly crafted Burleigh inspired beers. Think modern takes on Lagers to fruity Pale Ales sure to please even non-beer drinkers. Your best bet is to grab the tasting ‘paddle’ to take all the hard decisions out of it. But if beer really isn’t your thing, they also have cocktails and wines on offer. And if that wasn’t enough, live music on Sundays and fur babies are always welcome.
3-4/105 West Burleigh Rd, Burleigh Heads
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